3 Oct 2013

Mail group own goal as Miliband row continues

It seems beyond incredible that the seemingly sure-footed House of Northcliffe could walk straight back into the mire, just as Dacre-gate seems to be ebbing away.

But that is exactly what has happened.

We can now reveal that the Mail on Sunday Assistant Editor (Features) Amy Iggulden (as of April this year) has been suspended by editor Geordie Greig.

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Also suspended, the freelance reporter who was present at the Miliband family gathering in memory of Ed Miliband’s Uncle at Guy’s Hospital – Joanne Knowsley.

Apparently Geordie Greig has admitted full responsibility and apologised “unreservedly” and says that Lord Rothermere will reply to Ed Miliband about the presence of a Mail on Sunday reporter at a private family gathering, hot on the heels of the Daily Mail denigration of Miliband Senior.

Mr Greig says he had no idea. It seems nobody thought to tell him this was being planned.

But the back story is whether or not Mr Greig was under pressure not to apologise by Paul Dacre – the Mail group editorial supremo and man currently on the run from journalists wanting answers.

Media sources and others say categorically that, after initially apologising, Mr Greig told the Labour party he would not apologise after all and said it was justified to send a reporter.

This is being seen – if it is the case – as the result of direct pressure from Paul Dacre. So another question looms for one or both of these suddenly shy editors to try and clarify – or even just answer.

Has he really apologised at all?

When I called the papers this morning I spent a bizarre 10 minutes or so being passed around the organisation.

No press officer was available. All calls were being directed to the chairman’s office “on the direct order of Lord Rothermere”.

When I eventually got to the right place, a woman who declined to give her name also declined to answer whether the editor of the Mail on Sunday has actually in fact apologised at all.

“Can you just answer that, yes or no?”

“You need to put it in an email.”

“But why don’t you just help yourselves by just answering it? It’s a yes or no, and you’ve put a statement out on PA.”

“You’ll have to write an email.”

I wrote an email. It remains unacknowledged.  And of course it contained a request for an interview.

Over at the Daily Mail, Mr Dacre remains more or less on the run from his mews home in west London where the cars turn up in the evening gloom, travel down the cobblestones, and duly deliver the first and second editions of the paper through the pale green front door.

Nobody is at home. The porch light periodically come on automatically as, curiously, does a computer screen on the first floor, before going off again and surrendering to the night.

Bemused diplomats come and go from the embassy next door – they look just as bemused when I finish explaining why I am here as they did when I started. It is a peculiarly British affair, this one.

Yesterday Paul Dacre did emerge from his London home with a paper over his head, apparently wishing to disguise who he is. Regrettably it was not the Daily Mail. It was the Financial Times.

There’s a feeling of near-chaos about the organisation in all of this.

Associated Newspapers is currently delivering huge amounts of support to the very same “Red Ed” they profess to dislike so very much.

There is a growing sense that the outfit’s supposedly sure-footed understanding of middle England has been lost in recent days. They don’t get it.

One editor not apologising, not explaining, and on the run. Another apparently apologising profusely and suspending staff who were doing things he knew nothing of. Strange times indeed for Lord Rothermere.

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5 reader comments

  1. Philip says:

    The words – foot shot in themselves the – arranged more grammatically spring to mind. This disgraceful episode has helped Ed Milliband’s image & galvanised support against the Mail & for the left. I feel I should be encouraging Dacre to do his worst – it should give Labour a handsome victory in 2015.

  2. Philip Edwards says:

    Alex,

    Way back in 1948 Nye Bevan publicly labeled the tories “vermin.”

    Now you know why.

    They and their media will never change.

    You only had to see Dacre’s disgusting performance in front of the Leveson Inquiry to see what the fellow is. He and Kelvin Mackenzie make a typical pair or neocon media thugs. There are many others.

  3. Andrew says:

    Dear Mr Thomson,
    Please try to remember that as you are writing on a broadcaster’s website your comments are meant to be impartial. They don’t sound it. I think you should enjoy your ‘growing sense’ somewhere else

  4. quietoaktree says:

    Own goal ?

    — What an understatement !

    Wikipedia

    “Lord Rothermere was a friend of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and directed the Mail’s editorial stance towards them in the 1930s. Rothermere’s 1933 leader “Youth Triumphant” praised the new Nazi regime’s accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by them. In it, Rothermere predicted that “The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany”

    One German Lady was of an opposite opinion –at the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucie_Mannheim

    –and would have questioned the ´nationalism´ of the ´DailyMail´ and many of the British elite.

    BBC — Propaganda to Germany. (Mods please do not remove –historical value !)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvCxmcm88w4

    ” oh möge die Laterne steh’n
    In einem andern Deutschland. Deine Lili Marleen.”

    –And the lamp post should stand in another Germany

    “Hängt ihn an die Laterne! Deine Lili Marleen.

    –Hang him on the lamp post — your Lille Marlene.

    The moral of this catastrophe is simple — never let journalists under 90 years of age work on such a story.

  5. Andrew Dundas says:

    Would the implied accusation that Ed Milliband is the son of an European immigrant encourage the turnout of Tory voters in 2015? Or will it remind folks of the Nasty Party?

    Or will Lord Snooty’s pals at News International & Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) find a way of using this nasty story to successfully imply that Miliband is “not one of us”?

    Would C4 let them get away with that?

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